Monday, September 29, 2008

ABC - TV: "Pointing" Out the Differences in the Debate

Monique Ozanne

It may have been called a debate, but Presidential nominees John McCain and Barack Obama spent a lot of time agreeing with one another on the bailout plan. However they were also quick to point the finger at one another on the war, taxes, and other apparent differences.

Sitting in my apartment with my roommates, and Homecoming guests for the weekend, we tried to relax and keep our personal political viewpoints to ourselves, while enjoying the debate. While waiting for foreign policy to be discussed, I could not help but notice the camera angles. While it was a pool camera feed, it seemed that there was a heavy focus on how Obama always pointed to McCain when referring to him or his campaign, but McCain would point to the audience and never look at Obama. With this undertone being the only striking difference between the candidates in the debate, my guests and I were puzzled as to who won the debate. When I looked for ABC commentary on the debate however, the network seemed to feel the same way about a winner.

Digging deeper to find the winner, I was surprised to find that ABC did not come forward to award either candidate with a win. Instead the network used their post-debate slot of time to lead a discussion with analysts, who were able to decide the winner. I think this was a good move for ABC because it will receive credit for not claiming a winner themselves. They left it up to the viewer to decide, and led very fair coverage of the debate. It was not until after the weekend that ABC decided to release polls that put Obama slightly ahead of McCain. I find this to be a strategic movie on ABC's behalf by inferring that Obama may be on top in these polls because of the debates.

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